A major focus of 2022 has been the creation of a new study to explore reducing the risk to vulnerable patients of drug-resistant bacterial infections in residential care homes and hospital settings. The study seeks to improve the care of some of the most vulnerable people in society through enhanced infection prevention and control, allowing better stewardship of our last line of defence antibiotics, one of our most precious healthcare resources.
Professor Nicholas Feasey, an Infectious Diseases physician, and Professor of Clinical Microbiology at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, is leading on the project.
“When elderly and vulnerable patients arrive at an NHS hospital from residential care, or if they’ve had recent hospitalisation, we’re a bit more suspicious that they’ll have a serious bacterial infection that is difficult to treat with standard antibiotics. If you are vulnerable and have a severe infection, you often can’t wait for test results to get the right diagnosis. And so quite often, we weigh-in with some of our last line antibiotics.
“We’re trying to understand why there is an increased risk in some settings and explore ways of preventing patients from acquiring drug-resistant infections.
“Most infections come from bacteria in our bodies, typically in our gut. They don’t normally cause us any harm – E. coli is an example, it’s ubiquitous, and present at very low levels in all of our guts. Yet it can cause urinary tract infections, which, if you are frail, can spill over into the blood and become life threatening and life ending. So we’re trying to stop the spread of those variants of E. coli which are resistant to commonly used antibiotics.”
The study will go live in Liverpool in 2023 and will investigate how dangerous drug-resistant bacteria move around and find ways to interrupt that transmission which are pragmatic, affordable and not so restrictive they could not be implemented in a care home setting.
The team is developing care home and NHS partnerships to deliver the study, along with a research protocol, which is being submitted for ethical review. The transmission modelling study will begin early in 2023.
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Professor Nicholas Feasey
Infectious Diseases physician and Professor of Clinical Microbiology at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
Professor Feasey is based at the Malawi Liverpool Wellcome Research Programme in Blantyre, Malawi. His research is focused on the surveillance and management of antimicrobial resistant bacterial infection, and taking a one health approach to exploring the transmission of enteric pathogens associated with invasive disease. His research group uses bacterial genomics, spatial statistics and transmission modelling in collaboration with the Wellcome Sanger Institute and CHICAS at the University of Lancaster.Read more
Dr Grant Hughes
Reader and Wolfson Fellow at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
Professor Hughes’ PhD research at The University of Queensland focused on developing a symbiotic control strategy of an agricultural disease caused by a viral pathogen transmitted by Planthoppers.Read more
Professor Nicholas Casewell
Director of the Centre for Snakebite Research & Interventions and Chair in Tropical Disease Biology at Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine
Following completion of his doctoral studies characterising the venom composition of medically important snake species at Bangor University, Prof. Casewell worked for two years for MicroPharm Ltd leading research and clinical development of snakebite treatments known as antivenoms.Read more
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